Welcome to No Man’s Land

What is this place?

This is No Man’s Land. This is the place stuck in the middle of the political battle between the Left and the Right. As of writing this is in March of 2017 the USA, Canada, and seemingly the whole world, are in a political war. Possibly never before have we seen such a disconnect between the two political “sides”. On the left are Liberals/Democrats; people who believe we should all care for each other, and help each other when we’re in need. On the right are Conservatives/ Republicans; people who believe that you should work hard to achieve success, and for people to be free. And for some reason, we live in a world where we can’t do both. “The Middle” is a political stance I see people identify as very rarely, and talked about even less. Lots of people will say they are when trying to distance themselves from extremists on the side they really are, but few actually take a neutral stance on most major issues. Until recently I didn’t, I was quick to lump myself into a group. But as of late I’ve found myself being more and more open to looking at issues objectively regardless of what each political group believes. But instead of being seen as neutral, I’m often seen as the enemy to both sides since I don’t fully agree with them. So I find myself stuck in the middle of this war, being fired on from both sides. Won’t you join me in the middle; won’t you join me in No Man’s Land?

Who are you?

I am Shane Michaels, a late 20s white male from Southern Ontario, Canada. I long considered myself Liberal, although now have realized it was because of the slant to the Left in education and media that turned me at a young age. As I started to get older and follow politics slightly I realized that while I have liberal values, I find the Left parties to often times be too liberal for me. This started my drift towards the middle, but I was really still a Liberal in mindset. That actually started to change a couple years ago with the Justin Trudeau campaign/election win, and later with the Trump campaign/election win. It was during this time politics really jumped to the forefront of everyone’s topics of discussion, and I got more exposed. It was also during this time that I realized how much in the middle I really was. Trudeau rode the new wave of Political Correctness, giving it even more momentum. I came to think of things as getting too PC, and backed off from the Left. With Trump’s rise I was flabbergasted, as I didn’t think it was possible for Republicans to follow up with someone I’d be more embarrassed to have as a leader than George Bush. But they did it, and did it bigly. I couldn’t believe anyone would support this dude. Then, like many anti-Trumpers, I found out a good friend supported. I couldn’t believe it, not only a good friend, but one I’ve always considered smarter than me and respected greatly. But unlike most people, I decided to talk to him calmly and without judgment. And that’s when my political stance shifted once again. Because my friend truly is smarter than me and very respectable, and he had good reasons to support Trump. My friend exposed my ignorance to what the Right stands for. There was more than pro-gun, pro-life, pro-military. There was infastructure and job development and market growth. These are things I never really thought of; I mean I knew they needed to be focused on, but I never focused on them. Because I was Liberal, and Conservatives think about that stuff. This is when it dawned on me that I needed to rethink how I view these issues and politics.

Why are we here?

Upon my shift to the Middle, I realized how few people are here. Like I said earlier, people may say they’re in the middle, but few actually are. Even I still struggle with preset beliefs that interfere with me being objective. Bias is everywhere, and one of the main reasons I wanted to start this. I think I may be impossible to be completely unbiased, I try to be but will have bias slip through on occasion. Nowhere is bias more prevalent than journalism and social media, and this is my way to combat that. The phrase “there’s no such thing as unbiased journalism” gets thrown around a lot, and is definitely true. What is find odd and problematic is that it’s become the rule and not the observation. Journalists don’t try to be unbiased, people don’t try to follow unbiased(or as unbiased as possible) media, and people don’t try to look at things or discuss things without bias. Even worse people, unknowingly but willingly, fall victim to confirmation bias. For anyone who has never heard the term before, it means when you purposely seek out information that reinforces your beliefs while ignoring or dismissing information that doesn’t. I can’t imagine there is a person on social media that hasn’t been a victim of this, I was for years. What concerns me is how people don’t notice, or even care. They want to only see what proves them right, and will put blinders on for anything that challenges them. I to this day will dismiss articles and studies that go against a select few beliefs/ideals that I strongly believe in. I am trying not to, and hope I can help others do the same. This blog will casually discuss politics and social topics, with as unbiased of view as I can provide. I will still have clear opinions on things; despite my intelligent friend’s insight I still think Trump is a terrible leader, but I will admit when he does something good(spoiler alert: he does sometimes). Hopefully I can do what I’m trying to accomplish, and can at least give people something to think about.

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2 thoughts on “Welcome to No Man’s Land

  1. I don’t think there is an “objective” view point to critically analyze these two sides. That is to say, that we are forced to enter these conversations from some hermeneutical vantage point–informed by our life experiences, the literature’s we’ve read, and our philosophical alignments. I strongly disagree with you on this point. And, to be honest, I think it is careless. Perhaps to put it another way, there is no such thing as an “apolitical” position, if that is what you attempting to establish. Everything is political. And it is, unfortunately, “chartable” to a certain extent. Although, I am beginning to think that we as “a society” need to move beyond this dichotomy because, on the one hand, the left and the right often blend into a confusing centre more often than they are radically opposed. Kevin O’Leary and Treadue are good examples of this: two sides of the same coin. What was “Liberal” yesterday is “Conservative” tomorrow. I witness this happening in Alberta where the so-called “Right” despises the NDP, despite taking centre-right stances. We are very quick to identify with the “Left” or the “Right” as brands–perhaps this is a symptom of being surrounded by brands and volatile “signifiers that demand our loyalty. On the other hand, I am incredibly suspicious of people who not only reduce themselves to the “Right” or the “Left” and reduce others. Someone can have radical leftist view-points and radical right views. They are not mutually exclusive, and definitely intersect. Robert Reich is a good example of this. In many ways, he is Liberal, but he holds some very conservative sentiments with respect to how Democracy and Economies should work.

    At the end of the day, even though I appreciate what you are attempting to do here, I think your conceptual framework is reductive and flawed, and that you should critically re-evaluate how you diagnose the “Left” versus the “Right” divide. You should especially catch yourself up on the literature and history of how these sides have been “constructed” and where they begin and end on their respective spectrums.

    Finally, I think that issues of human rights or the basic right to a minimum quality of life for all “individuals”–human and otherwise–does not “fit” onto the spectrum of “left” and “right.” What I mean by this is that the “left” and the “right” are quite ignorant of pressing global and racial issues–it is a battle being fought between White Middle Class individuals. Unfortunately, that is the “Truth” of that matter (here, I mean “Truth” in the way Alain Badiou would describe it). I base this on my study and research of Critical Race Studies, Post-Humanism, Postcolonialism, and contemporary work in Queer Studies.

    Best,

    -Jon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would just like to say that i appreciate your comment and feedback. I’m very new to blogging(this is my first attempt), and am by no means a political expert, I’m far from it. Maybe I did not make clear what I’m attempting to do. I’m not trying to dissect and analyze the textbook definitions of Left and Right, but moreso the people that currently identify in each as each of these labels. While I’ll be giving my view and opinion on political news and issues, it will mostly be looking at how people are reacting to these things happening.

      And while I do definitely agree that you come into every conversation with a stance shaped by your previous experiences, I don’t believe you should so easily let that limit how you observe and evaluate things. I try to not let my opinion on a subject affect what I take away from it until I know all the facts. I’m generally anti-gun(for lack of a better term, that doesn’t accurately describe my views), but I try not to let that influence how I would look at a future mass shooting. I’d get the facts before I jumped to “well this is why we should restrict guns”. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? I’m sorry if I’m not making it clear.

      I also say I’m stuck in the middle because, like you said, the Left and Right often mix. So while i think many people should be in the middle, they join one side or another to feel like part of a team. And when you’re part of a team, you hate those who aren’t on your team. So in the current landscape of politics discussion amongst the general public, I feel like most people are divided into one of two sides and I’m stuck in the middle because I don’t choose a side. Hope that clears up some confusion about what I hope to accomplish and what my intentions are

      Like

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